Evaluating Language Proficiency for IGETC and UC Transfer

Educational Policies Committee
ASCCC Secretary

At its Fall 2017 plenary, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges approved Resolution 7.03, [1] which highlighted the unique situation of trying to certify and accept a high school language course from a non-regionally accredited home school for the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). As the resolution notes, a specific community college was “ordered by a superior court judge to certify and accept a high school language course from an unaccredited home school for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) purposes.”

As open access institutions, community colleges have a diversity of students with myriad educational interests and prior educational experiences. While Resolution 7.03 F17 addresses a unique situation in regard to students with homeschooling, many other students with language abilities other than English do not have traditionally accepted documentation.

The University of California (UC) states the following on its admissions website regarding homeschooling:

If your home schooling curriculum is not provided by a U.S. regionally accredited school (or approved by the State Board of Education) and you will not receive an official transcript and high school diploma from a U.S. regionally accredited school…you may still be considered for admission by exception. (University of California Admissions, n.d.)

The process of admission by exception is specifically for students applying as freshmen. In the case that a student attends a California community college, that student has the opportunity to complete IGETC to meet general education transfer requirements. According to the UC, “IGETC is a series of courses that prospective transfer students attending California community colleges may complete to satisfy the lower-division breadth/general education requirements” (University of California Counselors, n.d.). Counseling faculty, articulation officers, and evaluators are familiar with IGETC as an excellent option for UC bound students.

One of the IGETC area requirements, which is highlighted by Resolution 7.03 F17, is Area 6: Language Other than English. Both the UC website (University of California Counselors, n.d.) and the latest IGETC Standards (Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates, 2021) provide students and college personnel with a variety of options to meet Area 6. Ideally, a student could meet proficiency in a language other than English by having completed two years of high school coursework in one language other than English with a grade of C or better. In the case outlined in the resolution, where the coursework from a non-regionally accredited homeschool would not be acceptable, several other options are available.

One solution that could mitigate such a situation is the following option:

If an achievement test is not available, a faculty member associated with a United States regionally accredited institution of higher education can verify a student’s competency. The institution must provide a document on college letterhead asserting that the student has mastered proficiency in the language equivalent to two years/second level of high school instruction. (Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates, 2021, p. 24)

Some colleges have established processes to address this type of situation. For example, they have created a form on school letterhead that resides in the counseling department. The counselors, in assessing students’ needs, facilitate the connection of the student with a qualified faculty member to certify the student’s competency. The signed form is then returned to the Admissions Office for record keeping and eventual use for IGETC certification of Area 6.

If a college does not have a process in place to certify language proficiency for Area 6, whether involving homeschooling or not, a local taskforce might be created to review the IGETC Standards and establish a streamlined process. The composition of this taskforce may include counseling faculty, articulation officers, transfer directors, admissions staff, and language faculty. Also, given that some languages may not be represented at every college, the college should identify faculty—including those of native heritage—at the institution or at nearby institutions of higher education that can serve to certify language proficiency. Lastly, the form should define what is considered proficiency.

While the college involved in the legal case mentioned in Resolution 7.03 F17 did have local options established for certifying language proficiency for IGETC Standards, including arrangements for credit by exam with a nearby college, a court ruling took over decision making and the college was not given time to defend its processes or decisions. Even though the circumstances of the legal case may seem unique, the resulting resolution serves as an important reminder to review or establish local processes for certification of language proficiency.


Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates. (2021). Standards, Policies & Procedures for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum Version 2.2. https://icas-ca.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/FINAL_IGETC_STANDARDS-2.2_1June2021.pdf.

University of California Counselors. (n.d.). General education & IGETC. University of California. https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/transfer/advisi….

University of California Admissions. (n.d.). Home-schooled Students. University of California. https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/admission-requirements/fre….

[1] The text of Resolution 7.03 F17 can be found at https://asccc.org/resolutions/evaluation-and-certification-coursework-home-schools.